Saturday, November 10, 2007

1130 – 1160 Melismatic Organum

1137         First Gothic cathedral begun at St. Denis
1152-90     Fredrick Barbarosa, Emperor
1163         Cornerstone of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
1167         Cluny took over St. Martial


This is the first generation where the two voices show rhythmic independence.



Liturgical Drama


Descended from dialogue tropes, plays detached from the mass were popular throughout the 12th and 13th centuries. With texts in Latin and the vernacular, popular subjects were Daniel, Rachel and the wise and foolish virgins. The music consisted of hymns, chants, popular songs and metrical strophic songs used as processionals called conductus.  The first surviving morality play was Ordo Virtutum (c. 1151) by Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 1179). 



Marcabru (d.c. 1150) was a troubadour of this generation.




Throughout the middle ages to around 1400 jongleurs were professional traveling entertainers of illegal status who performed traditional music and acrobatics. They were employed by the troubadours and trouvères.



Sustained tone or melismatic organum


Melismatic organum |----------- fast melismas—Duplum
|-Latin----- slow chant—Tenor


In melismatic organum the original chant was drawn out in long notes in the lower voice, called tenor, like a pedal point, while the upper voice sang free melismas without text (many notes above to each tenor note). The main intervals were octave, fifth and sometimes fourth. Manuscripts were from the Abbey of St. Martial in Limoges, France, and Santiago de Compostela, Spain (both c. 1150).



The old note against note style of organum, called discant, was found side by side in the same pieces with the melismatic style.




The St. Martial MSS were written out in score arrangement in diastematic neumes on a staff. It is difficult to determine when the voices coincide and rhythm is not notated.


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